, Volume 17, Issue 2, pp 177-194

Selective mutism in children: A structural family therapy approach to treatment

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Abstract

When children refuse to speak in some social settings, but can understand and speak in other settings, the diagnosis of selective mutism must be considered. A review of the literature describes the disorder, the various types of mutism, and related family dynamics. A family systems approach to treatment using structural family therapy is suggested. The case history presented illustrates one type of mutism as well as the family rules and hierarchy which appeared to be maintaining it. Structural and strategic family systems theory techniques that were used to move the family toward resolution of this problem are discussed.